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Sunday, September 15, 2019

Divrei Torah

On Changing Judaism for LGBT

Anyone reading this probably knows someone gay. The explicit biblical prohibition against homosexual activity and the associated rabbinic prohibitions, including the rabbinic condemnation of gay marriage, are not abstract concepts. The heartbreak, alienation, depression and everything else that follows are the real repercussions

Preserving National Identity

Parshat Ki Teitzei presents a seemingly harsh set of guidelines for inclusion within the Jewish people. Marriage is strictly limited to pedigreed Jews and, additionally, not all races are granted access into Judaism. Certain nationalities, such as Amon and Moav, are completely excluded based on past national misdeeds. Other

Taking Positive Steps With Compassionate Hearts

I recently attended a seudas hoda’ah—a meal of thanks to Hashem—hosted by a friend. His family had experienced an extremely challenging year, with accidents and health issues. Thankfully all are well now. The teenage son, who was involved in two accidents, thanked Hashem publicly for the two miracles he experienced. He told

Being Mindful of Others

Last week we discussed the importance of offering a positive gesture to another person, and how powerful—even something small of that sort—can actually be. We also discussed how we can easily sidestep this responsibility due to our hectic schedules and lives that we must upkeep. So the question becomes: how much are we really

Days Before Rosh Hashanah, Daf HaYomi B’Halacha To Embark On Chelek Hei, Hilchos Pesach

Dirshu’s Daf HaYomi B’Halacha program is completing the difficult halachos of eiruven and moving on to Hilchos Pesach. Perhaps it is no coincidence that the beginning of Hilchos Pesach coincides with the yahrtzeit of the Chofetz Chaim. The Dirshu Daf HaYomi B’Halacha program is devoted to learning a daily page of the

Statistics and Sorcerers

The ancient pagan residents of Israel practiced widespread sorcery and black magic. Many of these rituals, including witchcraft, wizardry, necromancy and soothsaying, were aimed at divining future events. Living in a chaotic world, ancient man devised multiple “schemes” attempting to predict the future. In truth, these crude

Taking the Initiative in Elul

Family vacations can be fun and exhausting at the same time. We returned from ours very late Thursday night. Our heads hit the pillow around 1 a.m. when suddenly all our smoke alarms went off! “Fire, fire, fire,” they blared throughout the house. We all ran outside, despite seeing no fire and smelling no smoke. Big fire trucks

From I Can’t to I Can

We can never underestimate the power of a kind gesture, even a seemingly insignificant one…

When the body of a murder victim is found between two cities, the elders of the closest city must perform the eglah arufah ceremony, in which part of that process is the elders proclaiming that they did

What’s New About Our New Year?

A new year begins. We are so used to this word, “new,” but the Torah asks us to stop and contemplate. To truly renew ourselves. What actually becomes “new,” in our world and in ourselves, at this time of year? In Jewish sources we find three things that the sages ask us to contemplate each day as if they were new:

Rav Yehoshua Mishkovsky to Grace Dirshu World Siyum in Pinsk

(Courtesy of Dirshu) The city of Pinsk in Belarus may seem a very unlikely place for a siyum haShas, but quietly out of the spotlight, a beautiful Torah community has sprouted forth from the ruins of Communism, and limud haTorah is thriving in Pinsk.

A lot of the credit goes to Rav Moshe Fhima, Rosh

Battling Our Fears

In Parshat Shoftim we read about the individual who was preparing for battle. In describing such a person the Torah writes, “When you do battle with your enemies, let your heart not be faint, do not be afraid, do not panic and do not be broken...” (Devarim 20:3) Instead, this individual was admonished to have no fear: “...

Achieving True Wealth by Giving

Rabbi Sorotzkin runs the organization Lev L’Achim in Eretz Yisrael, an organization specializing in being mekarev (bringing closer to Judaism) those who don’t have a religious background. He received a strange phone call one day. “Hello, this is Menachem Dvir. Every month I have been donating ten dollars to Lev L’Achim. Now